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"Not a single Rupee was traced back to AAP": Kejriwal to SC in excise policy case

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal filed his response to the Directorate of Enforcement's (ED) affidavit in the Supreme Court on Saturday and said that there exists "no proof or material" demonstrating that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received funds or advanced kickbacks from the South group, let alone utilising them in the Goa election campaign.

"Not a single Rupee was traced back to the AAP, and the allegations put forth in this regard are devoid of any tangible evidence, rendering them vague and baseless without any corroboration," Kejriwal said in response to the ED affidavit.

"No proof of even any cash payment was given. There exists no proof or material demonstrating that the AAP received funds or advanced kickbacks from the South group, let alone utilised them in the Goa election campaign. Not a single Rupee was traced back to the AAP, and the allegations put forth in this regard are devoid of any tangible evidence, rendering them vague, baseless without any corroboration," the affidavit stated.

Recently, ED had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing Delhi Chief Kejriwal's plea against his arrest. Filing his rejoinder on ED's affidavit, Kejriwal said that the central agency is abusing its power of arrest in the middle of the general election.

He said that the mode, manner and timing of his arrest just before the schedule of the Lok Sabha elections had been announced and the Model Code of Conduct had come into play, speaks volumes about the "arbitrariness" of the ED.

"This timeline establishes the fact that Kejriwal has been arrested intentionally with a malafide intent without any necessity to arrest," stated the rejoinder of the Chief Minister.

The present case is a "classic case" of how the ruling party-led central government has misused the central agency- ED and its wide powers under PMLA to crush its biggest political opponent -Aam Aadmi Party and its leaders, it added.

Kejriwal in his response further said that there is a glaring absence of material indicating his involvement in any criminal activity relating to the predicate offence whether it be concealment, possession, acquisition, or utilisation of proceeds of crime to attract the vice of Section 3 PMLA.

ED illegally 'picked up' a sitting Chief Minister and the National Convenor of one of the six national Opposition parties in India on March 21, 2024, that is, five days after the general elections were called and the Model Code of Conduct was put in place, affidavit further stated.

Kejriwal said that the AAP is in direct opposition to the ruling political party at the Centre in the ongoing general elections and voting has already commenced as of April 19.

The affidavit further said that during an election cycle when political activity is at its highest, Kejriwal's illegal arrest has caused grave prejudice to his political party and will give the ruling party at the Centre an unjust upper hand in the ongoing elections.

"A level playing field--which is a pre-requisite for 'free and fair elections'- has clearly been compromised with the illegal arrest of the Petitioner," the affidavit read.

He said he has always cooperated with the investigation, and the apex court has held in various judgements that non-cooperation does not mean that the person be arrested.

The affidavit of the Chief Minister further said that ED attributed the alleged "large-scale destruction of evidence" as a ground to arrest Kejriwal, however, it said, "there is not even a single averment alleging the destruction of evidence of any kind by Kejriwal and hence the said ground is devoid of any merit."

"Moreover, the respondent (ED), being devoid of any cogent reason, is now raising frivolous and fictitious grounds for justifying the illegal arrest of the Petitioner (Kejriwal)," stated the rejoined.

Kejriwal had approached the top court challenging his arrest by ED and his subsequent remand in the excise policy case. The apex court had earlier asked the central agency to file its response to Kejriwal's plea.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kejriwal had challenged a Delhi High Court judgement that dismissed his plea against arrest by the ED and his subsequent remand in the excise policy case.

Kejriwal, while filing an appeal in the apex court, contended that his arrest after the announcement of the general elections was "motivated by extraneous considerations.".

On April 9, the High Court dismissed his plea for release from jail and rejected his argument of political vendetta amid the looming Lok Sabha elections.

The High Court had said that Kejriwal's absence from nine ED summons over six months undermined any claims of special privilege as Chief Minister, suggesting his arrest was an inevitable consequence of his non-cooperation.

Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21 in connection with a money laundering probe relating to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy 2021-22. 

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